If you’re running a small farm, it might be a little comforting to know that you’re not alone in the struggles you face as far as the costs are concerned. According to a joint USDA survey in 2018, nearly 48% of farmland in the US comprises small farms practicing either subsistence or commercial farming.
Interestingly, an overwhelming majority of these farms are family owned and operated. And even for those who have an offsite source of income, the running costs of a small farm are at times frustrating enough to make you want to reconsider your second hustle.
This brings in the need to improvise and have some tricks up your sleeve on cost-cutting!
Cost-Cutting for Small Farms
A lot is usually involved before a small scale farmer can finally reap and earn revenue from agricultural produce. From digging to sowing seeds, planting seedlings, fertilizing, weeding, harvesting, and transporting your harvest – you name it, all these tasks require an initial investment.
And even for those with some skin in the game, it’s important to remember that not every growing season is the same.
Therefore, it is crucial to minimize the costs involved as much as you can, provided the quality of your produce is not compromised. Cost-cutting can help amplify profits for commercial small farmers and add convenience to subsistence farmers.
3 Crucial Ways Owners of Small Farms Can Minimize Costs
1. Opt for Used Equipment Wherever Possible
Depending on the crops being grown, small farm owners may require a variety of farming tools and equipment for purposes such as sowing, digging, harvesting, and even transportation for animal feed. These may range from plows to seeders to fertilizer spreaders, harrows, tractors, and farm trucks for transporting implements and produce.
And as expected, the larger equipment such as trucks will definitely cost more to procure straight from the manufacturer or dealership. Thankfully, many services offer used farm trucks for sale and can help take some decent bucks off of your sale if you care to look. You can also do the same for other large yet critical assets to your small farm.
2. Consider Renting or Sharing Some Equipment
You might need a bulldozer to dig a foundation, but that doesn’t make it a must-have piece of equipment for every property owner or real estate investor. And for what it’s worth, you might only need a plow only once or twice a year depending on what you grow on your tiny farm.
Instead of buying your own, renting a plow can be far much cheaper.
You can also consider partnering with nearby farm owners to buy or rent one during the growing seasons. The same can be done for other farm equipment like harvesters, planters, and even fertilizers dispersers.
3. Recycle, Reuse, and Reimagine
Perhaps one of the best things about farming is that waste is never really waste… especially if it’s organic. The foliage from the trees or shrubs on your farm could be used to create mulch, which reduces the amount of water you have to feed certain plants. This can help keep your farm’s water bills down, especially if you practice irrigation.
And, in the same way, scraps from the kitchen could keep your swine satiated; some weeds from your garden could pretty much work as feed for animals such as rabbits, goats, chickens, and even cows.
This is not to forget that animal waste, weeds, and other wastes can be combined to create compost or organic manure, which may significantly help reduce the cost of synthetic fertilizer if not minimize its need.